Safyaan proud of Scots’ effort

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Safyaan Sharif says there are plenty of positives Scotland can take from their ICC Cricket World Cup qualifying campaign.

The Scots agonisingly missed out on a place at next year’s finals in England and Wales after rain brought a premature halt to their winner takes all qualifying clash with the West Indies in Zimbabwe.

The loss was a tough one to take, with Scotland putting themselves in a perfect position to seal the win after bowling the qualifying tournament favourites out for just 198.

But a controvesrial LBW decision against Scotland’s Richie Berrington in the 32nd over, coupled with the Heavens opening, meaning the score had to be settled on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method, contrived to help scupper their chances.

Earlier in the campaign the Scots had beaten full member nation Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Nepal before a draw with Zimbabwe placed them perfectly to go through.

Glenrothes Cricket Club’s Sharif, from Buckhaven, said the nation could take a great amount of pride from their efforts.

He said: “We’re all absolutely gutted.

“As a team that’s probably as good as we’ve played since I started with Scotland in 2011.

“Our captain Kyle Coetzer has given us belief against every side but unfortunely decisions went against us.

“But that’s the sport and, although we’re disapointed, there are a lot over positives we can take.”

With next year’s World Cup being played just over the border, there was a real sense of deflation after the West Indies result.

But they’re not the only emerging nation to miss out following an ICC decision to reduce the amount of teams at the 2019 finals from 14 to 10.

The move has been roundly criticised by those within the sport and Scotland’s elimination means there will be no associate members to play at the World Cup for the first time, after Afghanistan and the West Indies came through qualifying.

Sharif, who picked up two man of the match awards during qualifying and was named in the ICC Team of the Tournament, reckons it’s a step in the wrong direction.

He said: “There needs to be more opportunity.

“We’ve shown as an associate nation that we’re capable of beating anybody and I don’t understand why the ICC want to reduce involvement.

“It’s a very disapointing decision.”

Sharif is aiming to banish that disapointment when club cricket with Glenrothes resumes in the summer.

“I’m looking forward the season with Glenrothes,” he said.

“We’ve signed some new players and it’s going to be exciting.”